press release

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Italian born, Berlin based artist Monica Bonvicini on the occasion of the Gallery Weekend Berlin.

Since the nineties, Monica Bonvicini has confronted audiences with drawings, installations, videos and photographs that explore specific conventions and investigate the relationship between space, power and gender.

Beautiful yet menacing installations respond to the architecture by largely male starchitects. Through the reflection on gender issues, often reinforced by biting humour, her work addresses the issues of ‘building,’. The large scale installations and sculptures, which often use art institutions own architecture, critically address the western architectural tradition to reveal how culture values infuse every last building block of its construction.

One of the most distinct characteristics of her work is its physical concreteness, and the commanding way it addresses the observer's experience of the room. As in the 1998 work Plastered, an early, iconic installation in which the entire gallery floor was constructed out of drywall panels that progressively cracked and fragmented over the course of the exhibition as visitors move through the space. Imposing large-scale word sculptures, Desire (2009), Satisfy Me (2009) and Built for Crime (2006) equally seem to call for irreverent gestures. Bonvicini expresses her feel for material by combining industrial items such as fluorescent tubes, metal and glass with fetishism related leather, rubber and chains. Her eclectic oeuvre indeed tackles fetishism as in the Leather Tools (2009) tightly covered up in black leather, presented on pedestals and covered with glass. Each tool, displayed in a vitrine like a timeless fetishistic object,which inherent function is to build up or build down architecture, is rendered useless and reduced to an anthropomorphic item.

Another aspect of Bonvicini’s work is her formal exploration of sculpture and its environmental display. And at times the boundaries between private and public are blurred. In Don't Miss a Sec.’ (2004) she offers an exhibitionistic use of toilets allowing the user to see without being seen. Bonvicini's critique of minimalism focuses on the incorporation of its forms in the aesthetic of everyday structures.

The exhibition will feature Light Me Black that was previously presented in her solo show of the same title at The Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. An immense sculpture comprising 148 custom-built fixtures fitted with bright white fluorescent tubes. The internal structure to which the fixtures are attached remains virtually invisible, creating the impression of a draping veil of light and producing a temporary blinding effect on the viewer.

Also on display will be SCALE OF THINGS (to come) (2010) an interactive staircase made of metal chains and tubes which will offer a view of the gallery space from above, the video No Head Man (2009), photographs, collages and different series of small spray-drawings and large scale drawings from the series Hurricane and Other Catastrophes. (both 2008/09).

In May, in Oslo's harbour She Lies will be installed. A dramatic and permanent work that floats opposite Norway's national opera house. Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich's icy seascape, it forms a romantic allusion to voyages of Arctic discovery as well as pointed reference to widely discussed global warming.

Monica Bonvicini, born 1965 in Venice, Italy, lives and works in Berlin. She was the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and institutions such as Emscherkunst, Essen (2010); The Art Institute of Chicago (2009); Museion, Bolzano (2009); 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Lenbachhaus Munich and Kunstmuseum Basel (2009); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2007); Never Missing a Line Sculpture Center, Long Island (NY) (2007); Preis der Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2005); The Experience of Art, 51st Venice Biennale (2005); Komplex Berlin 3rd Berlin Biennale (2005); Secession, Vienna (2003); Aarhus Kunstmuseum (2002); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002); Le Magasin, Grenoble (2001); 48th Venice Biennale (1999) and Berlin – Berlin 1st Berlin Biennale (1998). In August 2010 she will have a solo exhibition at Museum Fridericianum Kassel and in 2011 at Kunsthaus Graz.

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Monica Bonvicini
Bet Your Sweet Life